The ANU administration has announced the removal of the fee increase cap for all international students and domestic fee-paying students. In an email sent to all international and domestic fee-paying students, Registrar Mark Erickson announced that the University will go through with the previously mentioned plans to remove the cap of 5% on fee increases for all students. In 2012, the University announced that it would remove the cap for all students starting from 2013 onwards but would keep the cap in-place for existing students until the end of 2014. Furthermore, the University will now charge the same fee for a course to all International and domestic fee-paying students, previously the fee was dependent on the year of commencement, similar to the system followed for domestic Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) Students.
In his email, the Registrar stated that, “The maintenance of an annual 5% cap on fees in previous years generated difficulties…including determining what the actual cost of a course, or the number of courses, might be in a particular year.
“Students were also paying different amounts to undertake the same course or courses,” he added.
The confusion, inequity amongst students and administrative difficulty was a central theme to the arguments presented by the Registrar. Furthermore, the University claims that due to the little difference in fees between students, there will not be much difference in what students would have paid and will pay.
Current President of the International Students Department (ISD), Suzy Nopamornbodee hoped that while the increase in fees would negatively impact current students, the two year implementation allowed current students to alter their arrangements as necessary.
It is also unclear what kind of consultation was done with the ISD in previous years when the decision was made. Nonetheless, Nopamornbodee mentioned that 2014 and 2015 ISD representatives will be working to make sure students in the future are “aptly forewarned of any future fee increases”.
“All things constant, this change might…drive prospective students from ANU” She added. Nopamornbodee hoped, however, that it would not be a negative influence if the ANU could justify the increases by demonstrating a higher quality of teaching.
These changes also come in light of recent surveys that ranked Australia as the most expensive place for international students. A survey of five thousand parents from fifteen countries estimated that an international student would spend more than $42,000 each year on fees and supporting themselves, with students paying an estimated $3,000 less in Singapore and $6,000 less in the US. Australia also has the highest concentration of international students in the world with 20% of university students being international, but ranked equal fifth with Canada on quality of education according to the survey.
International students in Australia are also subject to additional visa regulations. This includes a maximum twenty hours of paid employment a week and having to have a full-time load throughout their degree. International student representative groups are lobbying for travel concessions for all international students. Currently, not all states offer concessional travel for international students.